Test pilots show off Honeywell technology to make your flight smoother

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Honeywell gave Arizona's Family a behind-the-scenes look at how their pilots test the technology designed to make your flight safer and more comfortable. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Honeywell gave Arizona's Family a behind-the-scenes look at how their pilots test the technology designed to make your flight safer and more comfortable. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Thursday's test flight on a Boeing 757 was one of about 1,000 test flights engineers conducts in Arizona each year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Thursday's test flight on a Boeing 757 was one of about 1,000 test flights engineers conducts in Arizona each year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Honeywell operates five test planes out of Sky Harbor Airport. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Honeywell operates five test planes out of Sky Harbor Airport. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The software tested Thursday isn't necessarily brand new, but engineers are constantly making upgrades. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The software tested Thursday isn't necessarily brand new, but engineers are constantly making upgrades. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

When you board a flight for that summer vacation, there's a chance that Honeywell software technology is on board.

Honeywell gave Arizona's Family a behind-the-scenes look at how their pilots test the technology designed to make your flight safer and more comfortable.

Thursday's test flight on a Boeing 757, a standard aircraft used in commercial air travel, was one of about 1,000 test flights engineers conduct in Arizona each year.

There are limited seats, an exposed ceiling and limited overhead bins to store luggage.

The software tested Thursday isn't necessarily brand new, but engineers are constantly making upgrades.

One of the products is a 3D radar system helps pilots avoid turbulence.

"It helps the passenger because now the pilots have an easier way to navigate around bad weather and provide a smoother safer flight for everybody," said Honeywell co-test pilot Joe Duval. "There are a lot of airlines using it. We are constantly improving it with new software and making it better."

"It’s constantly scanning the sky out in front of us, gathering that data and then it can display it to the pilots on the screen up front," he explained.

There are other benefits too.

"You're not going to be delayed and now the airline is going to save money on fuel," he explained.

Another product tested Thursday is called SmartRunway/SmartLanding. The software helps pilots find the right place to land safely by giving audio warnings if they're approaching the wrong runway.

Honeywell also showed off its JetWave technology which allows passengers to seamlessly access Wi-Fi and their favorite social media sites from the comfort of their seats. It works through a router that connects to an antenna that bounces off a satellite, so you're able to get uninterrupted high-speed internet on your flight no matter where you are in the world.

"The demand for passengers is, 'I want to stream my Netflix! I want to do work, I want to send big files.' And that’s the capability that we’re bringing to aircraft," said Honeywell spokesman Adam Kress.  

"A lot of our competitors use air to ground systems which limits you to the continental U.S. The system we use is satellite based so it actually works worldwide," said engineer Charlie Gibson.

Honeywell operates five test planes out of Sky Harbor Airport.

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Maria HechanovaMaria’s last name is pronounced HETCH-UH-NO-VAH. She joined the 3TV/CBS 5 News team in July 2017, but is no stranger to Arizona.

Click to learn more about Maria.

Maria Hechanova

Prior to moving to Phoenix, she spent four years in Tucson reporting for KOLD News 13 and KMSB FOX 11 covering wildfires, VA transportation issues, and Southern Arizona's largest school district.

Before that, she worked for WLNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan where she learned a lot about the auto industry and almost never took off her parka.

Maria also reported in Yuma where she had the incredible opportunity to fly with the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and cover countless military homecomings.

She got her start at KPHO in 2008 as a college intern and is happy to be back and working with professionals who helped shape her career.

Shortly after college, Maria landed an internship with the TODAY Show in New York City thanks to the help of the Asian American Journalists Association.

She graduated from Northern Arizona University where she was also a member of the women's swimming and diving team.

Maria grew up in the Valley and went to Ironwood High School in Glendale.

When not reporting the news, she’s hunting for the best carne asada tacos or bowl of pho, swimming laps, or hanging out with her USMC veteran husband and rescued Shih Tzu.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you also can find Maria at @MariaHechanovaTV on Instagram.

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